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Disquieting - 86%

Felix 1666, August 10th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Seance Records

Metal albums differ in many respects. Just take a look at their accessibility. Sometimes you understand each and every song of a full-length very quickly (Kreator). Occasionally you are in the album even in a matter of seconds, but before you can turn around you are out again (Toxic Holocaust). Other albums want to be unlocked and don’t grant complete access during the first two or three spins (Malokarpatan). Finally, there are craggy works that are more difficult to conquer than the Mount Everest. And exactly this is the moment where “Temple Under Hell” shows up.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but there is a grain of truth in it. Erebus Enthroned (another once promising band that is no longer active – didn’t they know that any kind of splitting up is forbidden?) brew a very dark, obscuring and vehement form of black (roughly 75%) and thrash (consequently 25%) metal. Already the partly morbid, partly vehement, partly desperate opener (with a duration of almost ten minutes) marks an indigestive chunk. It’s astonishing; Norwegian black thrash hordes often have the charm of juvenile brats that want to demonstrate their adolescent strength, but comparable Australians (Denouncement Pyre or Deströyer 666, for example) like to devastate with the distant coolness yet extreme mercilessness of an adult mass murder. Even bands like Assaulter, another formation from Down Under that called it a day much too early, had this filthy, rude sharpness, even though their music had nothing in common with black metal (and not much in common with thrash). It seems as if the dudes on this remote continent have a general affinity for raw attacks and the underlying diabolic impulse is omnipresent. Erebus Enthroned hammer their tunes with utter conviction into the audience. They celebrate their complex patterns pretty excessively. Don’t expect lame, conventional nonsense like verse-chorus-verse, the horde has better things to do. Its wealth of ideas is the reason why it takes more than 47 minutes until the album clocks in – although it bundles only seven compositions.

The Australians present songs that consist of a string of different violent eruptions. They intersperse a few number of rather gloomy parts, but mostly the listener is confronted with evil sounds in their purest and most ravaging form. High-paced drumming builds the backbone for raging guitars that rather create a wall of sound than any kind of melody. Just check out the rumbling yet lethal wall of noise that shapes broad parts of “Crucible of Vitriol” – or any other song, they are all spawned by a misanthropic mind. In view of this instrumental inferno, it goes without saying that the lead vocalist also does not spread happy vibrations. His demonic voice completes the apocalyptic scenario. While the guitars do not shy away from rare moments of laxity, this dude permanently shows the grim side of his personality. Honestly speaking, either he can enhance his mood or I don’t want to meet him in a low frequented street at midnight.

Songs like “Void Wind” come in like a beast of prey that is seeking its favourite food after 72 hours without any meal. Even though it feels free to slow down the tempo at the end and to give the guitars room to spread their menacing sounds, the song is the pure nightmare for every consumer who is not familiar with this kind of metal. However, each and every song of this disquieting shock called “Temple Under Hell” carries the torch of the underground’s demonic forces. I just needed some time to understand the compositions and to find their best moments (the speedy parts of the quasi title track). But I promise: if the band comes back for a third full-length, I will climb on Mount Everest again.

The underdown under - 77%

autothrall, April 2nd, 2014

If the incredibly distinct art style here seems familiar, it's probably that you've seen the work of Russia's Denis Forkas Kostromitin on the latest Behemoth album, The Satanist, or perhaps on the debuts of lesser known acts like Altars and Wrathprayer. I find it incredibly oblique yet alluring, and while I've no idea whether he just has it commissioned or he actually sits through the albums in advance and uses them to summon up imagery, they're almost always a lock for the sounds they herald. The Erebus Enthroned sophomore Temple Under Hell is no exception, a murky concoction of black metal extremity which is true to the purpose of 2011's Night's Black Angel: lightless nihilism, fleshy and misanthropic dissonance, no source of comfort or happiness or warmth anywhere.

In some ways I might define this disc as 'bog standard', it certain doesn't reach far beyond the bounds of its genre, and thus you'll only discern slight differences in production from other works in the field. I certainly felt a few traces of De Mysteriis dom Sathanas-era Mayhem on the first album, and those remain prevalent here, though the music has a bit of an awkward, swarthy eeriness to it that reminds me of the last 3-4 efforts from another Enthroned (the Belgian one). Riffs vary between all-out assaults of cavernous tremolo picked patterns to rolling, churning chords being crested by sprays of gleaming dissonance (as in "Trisagion"), but this whole fucking thing is infernally dark and impenetrable, masked with a caul of gloominess, brutality, and occult hunger. Anyone remember the 'black pudding' monster from D&D? Okay, if those things could wear headphones, this is what they'd probably listen to while they're slinking along the cellars, crypts and corridors of Abyssal shrines and torture chambers. The album title is just too accurate, and if you don't come out of the music feeling less hopeful for your future than you went into it, then congratulations, you are fucking immune to the affectations of the black metal genre.

It's not incredibly unique, once again having components that are drawn from an obvious source or three, but where it might lack in nuance or creativity it compensates with harrowing effectiveness. Plenty of details in the vocal performance, which ranges from growls and rasps to haunted howls and groans, basically whatever manifestations of pure evil the drummer/singer 'N' conjures forth straight form the nether. Guy sounds like a living digderidoo in the middle of the title track, which is perhaps the most explosive piece though it drags a little long at nine minutes. Also want to comment that the bass tone here is great, nice and loud and gives you a morbid substrate for the thinner, dissonant driving guitars that fly all over it; while the drums are more than up to the savage standard of the genre. Blasting effortlessly, but also creating a vast calamity upon which the instruments are forced to sit uncomfortable. Really, Temple Under Hell is just another 'total package' sort of black metal album which should draw in purists who can listen beyond the fact that they probably own this already through its ancestral bloodlines to the mid 90s. Greatness? Perhaps not yet, but I'd say these New South Welshmen have edged out the first album with this offering. Goes well with black candlelight and the consumption of a still-beating human heart.


A Secret Concealed in the Darkness of Death - 76%

TheStormIRide, April 2nd, 2014

“A secret concealed in the darkness of death, binding the earth to the Temple Under Hell”

With several releases under their belt, Erebus Enthroned returns once again to conjure darkness with their sophomore album Temple Under Hell. The band’s second full length album continues their potent blend of mixing the Swedish styling of Marduk and Watain with traces of modern black metal groove in the riffing. Make no mistake, Erebus Enthroned can still blast with the best of them, but the slightly modern edge allows Temple Under Hell to stand a little bit apart from the pack. The production is thick and meaty, with everything shining through, but it still retains a dark and somewhat cavernous feel.

The dark and cavernous sound is partly because the band recorded Temple Under Hell in a live studio setting to capture the “true, uncontrived spirit of each composition with spontaneous live ceremonial energy and pure, unadulterated integrity.” Indeed there is a somewhat spontaneous feel to the music, but, in same breath, there is no downtime during the album, as the band crammed a hell of a lot into the album’s entire forty-seven minute run time. The only real sections to catch your breath are during the slow, doom-laden crescendo during “Black Sword” or the slow-burning ending to the album’s namesake, “The Temple Under Hell”. That’s not a bad thing, though, because although Temple Under Hell is crammed full, it’s crammed full of solid musicianship with twists and turns and a bevy of melodic hooks underneath the luciferian black metal.

The band sluices through doomy channels of melodic minor key picking before slapping you in the face with thrashy riffs that burst through the seams and end up dragging you back under the murky water. Every track offers an ebb and flow of somewhat melodic picking interspersed with blasting, lightning fast drumming and trem picking and mid-paced headbanging thrashing sections. Erebus Enthroned claims that the music is heavily influenced by sacrifice, transformation and illumination. While sacrifice and transformation seem to be present within the band’s ever amorphous style, I’m not sure they truly hit illumination, as this is a dark, dark album, better served to a location a kin to the album’s title. For a representation of the band’s sound, you pick any one track and not be surprised anything else on the album.

While the band’s mix of Swedish styled black metal and modern riffing is solid, this album really doesn’t offer a whole lot that hasn’t been heard before. That being said, fans of Opus Nocturne and Nightwing era Marduk and Casus Luciferi styled Watain could find a much worse way to spend their coin. Erebus Enthroned’s sophomore album is a convincing slab of luciferian black metal that combines the blasting yet melodic sensibility of the Swedish black metal scene with the somewhat grooving sensibility of the more modern scene, such as Acrimonious and the like. This is a dark, twisted and malignant piece of black metal; fitting for an auditory journey to the realms of the deepest pits of hell.

Written for The Metal Observer: